Tutorial - How to edit your knitwear photography using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3!

Sunday, 18 October 2015
Hey everyone!

Here’s a little tiny tutorial on how to get awesome shots using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

When someone asks me how I get the shots that I get I have two answers. 

One - make the people you're taking photos of laugh, having your photo taken is painfully stressful, make it as enjoyable as you can and if you need to tell them to act like a marmot for a couple of minutes to get them to laugh then it’s worth it.

Two - use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to edit your photos.

Now I’ve got an old ancient copy of the program - but most of the tools I'll be talking about will be transferrable to the newer version. Maybe once I upgrade (haha yeah right - when some money falls out of the sky) I will do an updated one but for now this is a Lightroom 3 tutorial specifically for getting your knitwear photos to look awesome!

Whether you’re a knitwear designer or you just want to show off your beautiful finished object on ravelry these tips will help you out on your way to getting the shots you want.

Brighten it up -

DSLRs these days are built to produce images that need to be thrown through a post-processing program (like Lightroom). The images straight off the camera often have dull colours and low contrast and they’re dark. It’s actually intentional so that you can have more control over the final product when you move it over into post-processing.

With Lightroom almost everything is in sliders - it’s wonderful. 

Slide the “exposure” slider to the right to make it brighter. If you’ve got bright photos you want to darken you can slide to the left to make them moodier and darker.

For this image you can see the original on top there, and my edits done afterwards. I've just added +1.20 exposure. So I've just dragged the little slider up until it looked right to me. 

There, that’s like 75% of my process. 

Depending on the image you’re going to want to brighten it quite a bit - probably a little bit more than feels comfortable to you. as long as you don’t have any patches of white where all the detail is gone, then you’re good with a very lightened up image.

For photos you’ve taken with diffuse natural light (read: cloudy day or window light) you can push this quite a bit. Have fun and play around!

Warm it up -

This is the second most used feature for me on Lightroom. The "Temp" slider! (it's up at the top! of all the sliders for good reason!)

Most photos can be warmed up by 5 or 10 points. If you’re outside shooting in greenery (like a forest or even a park) you can warm up even more, like 15 or 25 points!

This feature is lovely and gives a lot of life to your photos, just make sure to keep an eye out for white things in your images turning yellow. Like if you’ve started to get a yellow tinge to people’s skin, eyes or teeth you might want to slide it back down to a slightly less warm alternative.

Here's the before/after of this image after bringing the exposure up as well as adding warmth. 

Here's another one of my images with the exposure up and warmed up. You can really see the difference!

Straighten your image -

So when photographers tell you they don’t straighten or crop because they want to take the photo “right” the “first time” then they are a strange breed of photographer. To each their own, but I have found that it’s unreasonable to think that straightening out an image would be such a taboo that they would risk a beautiful shot if it just needed a quick straightening out.

What do I mean by straightening?

Well if there are any lines in your photo that should be straight (say, a brick wall or a landscape or a fence) our eye notices. The only things in the photo that need to be straight are things our mind knows need to be straight. So things anchored to the ground, or say, the ground itself. Things which should be straight if you’re looking at them should be straight in your photo. Not to say that unstraight photos are the worst thing ever - it just takes our brain a little bit more time to “see” the image. And for clickability’s sake it’s best to just straighten the image out.

Here's an image of Savanna I have straightened. In the first one she looks like she's leaning forward or standing on her tippy toes because the horizon line is uneven. It just looks a bit off (which you might not notice right away) but when you see the straightened version your eyes go "ahhh, that's better!" 

If you're wondering what shawl she's wearing it's my The First Few Fallen Leaves shawl! You can see the rest of my shots on Ravelry! 

Well, those are the tips! Stay tuned for more! And feel free to ask questions in the comments and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability! If there’s interest generated I’d love to do a couple of posts where people send me their untouched images and I can touch them up and go through my explanation as to why I do what I do!

Sylvia’s Public Service Announcement:  Everyone’s way of editing photos is different and there’s no ‘right’ way. If we sat down with the same image and were just asked to brighten it - we would both end up with two results because our ideas of what a nicely brightened photograph looks like are going to be so completely different. Take my advice or find your own way to getting the most out of your photos!


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